Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pulau Tioman - My 3 Days 2 Nights Trip via Discovery Tours & Travel @ Pahang State [Malaysia]

I am never known to be extremely diligent when it comes to posting my itinerary for overseas trips as i believe that nice surprises have that opportunity to pop out in a loosely planned free and easy tour.

It really depends on individuals; some would prefer to have tightly packed attractions typical of tour packages sold by travel agencies whereas others (like myself) love the freedom to slowly relax and absorb the local culture of that place i was travelling to. 

Day One
Anyway, much has been said and i shall now begin with a pretty detailed itinerary of my most recent Tioman island trip. It all started from 6.40am on 12 October 2013 when i was in a half dead mode to board the coach (CEO Classic Coach Cruiser) from Galleria (DFS) entrance in Orchard. 

By 7.20pm, we were already crossing the causeway to the Malaysian checkpoint. With Second Link being favoured by coaches traversing the Singapore-Malaysia route, i realised it has been a long time since i last took this route via a travel coach. 

Within an hour, we were brought to this coffeeshop for breakfast! 

Don't ask me its location which was way beyond my comprehension (only remember it was slightly further than AEON Tebrau City). I can recall the RM 5 wanton noodles though (duh right); not very sweet yet won my heart with its tastefully made savoury sauce and generous serving of tender minced pork!

Our next stop was to Tanjung Gemok ferry terminal; one of two gateways to Tioman Island. More on that later but i thought i should just highlight that the time taken to reach the terminal from the coffeeshop was roughly 150 minutes and the coach didn't come with entertainment like movies or even games! :(

It started pouring halfway through the journey and i was superbly worried that this might result the boat ride later on. You can't blame me as i have heard stories of very rocky conditions along the route and news reports on capsized ferries were not exactly uncommon. 

Weather was not as bad when we reached the terminal. Ferry tickets were issued as part of the full board package i bought from Discovery Tours. 

By the way, please be prepared for RM 5 conservation charge for entering the marine park. Money collected would be used to support their conservation and heritage programmes. 

Health advisory tips! 

Besides Tanjung Gemok ferry terminal, there was another terminal that used to be the only gateway to Tioman; Mersing ferry terminal. According to the locals i spoke to, Mersing is slightly nearer to Singapore but it has a problem; when the tide is low, no boats can enter and this can be problematic when ferry delays are so frequent! 

No-frill ferry to our destination; frankly, no difference at all from the ferries we took to the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan. Oh, there's one key difference.

How the hell is anyone supposed to shit in this small hole?!

The uneventful journey took us approximately 105 minutes to reach the first stop; Kampung Genting.

I was more in awe of those weirdly shaped mountains that provided a scenic backdrop to the village. At certain angles, it did appear to be a turtle with its snout facing the sky. 

Divers-to-be in training! Would i be one of them in a year's time!?

In less than ten minutes, we arrived in Kampung Paya where we were supposed to stay for the next two nights! In all, the journey from Singapore to the village took us six and a half hours; comfortable compared to the ten over hours ride i had to endure to Pulau Redang! 

After checking in and dumping our barang barang, we started to check with Paya Beach Resort's activities counter for our half day snorkeling trip that came with our package. 

Wandered around the small village and marvelled at trees with very smooth bark. For my post on Kampung Paya and its nearby surroundings, click here

Water was still relatively chopping when we first arrived. 

Conditions improved by around 4pm and we decided to go for snorkeling at a hidden spot just a short distance away from the resort. Given the love Alex and I have for snorkeling, we figured it would be better for us to get our very own snorkeling mask set at RM 90 each! 

For the location of the hidden spot and pictures of the underwater scene, click here. As you can see, i had donned a life jacket which was rented from the resort. 

We were famished after all that kicking under the water! Time for a buffet dinner provisioned in the full board package. To know how the food was, please refer to the following link here

Day Two
Rise and shine for a beautiful day two! We managed to secure enough people for a full day snorkeling trip instead even though there was a top up of roughly RM 70 each. 

The sea was much calmer compared to the day before and i can see many people sunbathing and snorkeling right outside the resort!

Waited quite some time for the speedboat and we only departed 45 minutes later. Damn, how come i get the feeling that i was being short-changed?!?!

Had so much time that i started taking more and more pictures; like the one above.

Finally leaving for our trip. For more information on the full day snorkeling package (RM 110 or RM 120 and came with a packaged lunch), you may click the links in accordance to the places we were brought to; Tulai Island, Kampung Salang, Marine Park and Renggis Island

That package ended at around 3pm; bloody hell, 4 hours would be considered as half day, not bloody full day! Anyway, it was insufficient to satisfy us and we went back to the hidden spot for an additional two more hours of fascinating snorkeling! 

Ended the night by having a fabulous cultural exchange session with a group of new friends we made on the full day snorkeling package. I was supposed to sleep early but before we knew it; it was already midnight! Must meet up with them soon! 

Day Three
After another restless night and a boring breakfast, we proceeded to return the rented life jackets and settle our bills. For my review on Paya Beach Resort, click here

Proceeded to the jetty after a filling lunch at Pantai Paya seafood restaurant.

A sea-facing cafe that appeared to be very popular! It was actually quite empty in the first two days i was there so i am unsure what has resulted in its spike on the popularity chart. 

Mid-day sun was just too torturing for leaving visitors who would prefer to jump into the inviting water yet couldn't because the ferry crew would likely bar them from boarding! 

Last look of Paya Beach Resort! 

More photographs as the ferry was late!!!!!!! 

Arrived almost 40 minutes late! I was more relieved than angry to see it arriving! Would not want a situation when i reached Singapore only at midnight and have to wake up early the next day for work. 

Going to Kampung Genting again to pick up passengers. The jetty stops were pretty straightforward; from Tanjung Gemok, it would be Genting followed by Paya, Tekek and then Salang and then the ferry made a U-turn for passengers who are going back to Tanjung Gemok from Tioman island. 

Biding a final goodbye to the tortoise island.
I would be back!

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My package was purchased via Discovery Tours and you may book your package via their official website at http://www.discoverytours.com.sg/tioman.html

Should you prefer to go through a local travel agent in Malaysia that specialises in Tioman Island Package, you may check out Holidaygogogo Tours. The website is http://www.govisittioman.com/ and you may get in touch with a representative at +6010-2216385 or via email at simon@holidaygogogo.com

Price of Package
S$376 for two persons which included the following:

2-way coach from Singapore to Tanjung Gemok 
2-way ferry transfers to Tioman 
2-night stay at Paya Beach Resort (standard chalet) 
2 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners 
Snorkeling Excursion to Renggis Island & Marine Park 

Additional Information
Am appending some photographs taken on the coach from Tanjung Gemok back to Singapore via the Causeway. The one above was a cemetery! 

This was a bird house where bird's nest can be harvested! I counted no less than twelve such houses on the way back.

Want to guess where this was? Mersing!

Oops, yet another cemetery. Remember, i have always been fascinated with the land of the dead. Check out this link if you share the same interest. 

5 comments:

  1. Nissa3:05 AM

    Lucky for you, your return ferry was 40 mins late. I went to Tioman in July last year, the return ferry was 3 hours late! Yikes. Anyway, great photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 3 hours!?!?!!? that's ridiculously late! hope i wouldn't have to face that the next time i visit!

      Delete
  2. Hey bro, Just like to check, which ferry terminal is advice'able ? I heard the t.gemok terminal is bit far from singapore ? Also, the return ferry from tioman is 9AM in the morning ?? Pls let me know bro, as I'm going there next month..Tunamaya resort...hope its good :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi hi.. which ferry terminal is advice'able ? I heard T.gemok terminal is far from singapore. Also, the return ferry is early in the morning from tioman ? please advice as I'm going there next month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hallo! I believe you are on the same trip with "unknown" who commented before you (you might even be "unknown")!

      Anyway, Tanjung Gemok ferry terminal is definitely further from Singapore as compared to Mersing but it's the designated one for good reason in case the tide is too low for the ferries.

      How would you be travelling? Via coach / tour? I believe there is a designated timing you have to adhere to. I purchased my package from Discovery Tours and everything was pre-arranged. You may also consider checking with Holidaygogogo Tours.

      Best,
      Cavin

      Delete

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